Tuesday, 31 March 2009

New Hythe lakes,March 31st.

Had one 40 foot net up between 1300-1430,ringed:Wren 1,Chaffinch 2,Blackcap 1 (male) and Reed Bunting 1 (male).

Also had a nice retrap of a female Reed Bunting, which was one of two of this species to be ringed in my garden this winter (20 02 09).Its pleasing to know it survived the attention of the local cats and Sparrowhawk,one of its kind in the garden this winter wasn`t so lucky (Sparrowhawk).

The last of this winters Reed Buntings to be seen in the garden was on March 19th.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Holborough marsh,March 30th.

About mid-day I was walking past the dyke where the Tristis Chiff has been present,when I heard a bird singing in a nearby Hawthorn,it was in fact the Tristis Chiff.The song was much quieter,higher pitched and more condensed than the song of a Collybita Chiff.

On closer inspection a faint wing-bar can also be seen on the median coverts,as well as on the greater.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

New Hythe,March 29th

After yesterdays cloud and rain,today dawned clear and bright,although some cloud rolled in from the west towards the end of the walk.A very quick walk around between o830 and o930,produced my first Swallows of the spring(five) all of which were in the Brookland lake/Abbey Mead area.No other birds of note were found,except pehaps for one drake Gadwall on Abbey Mead.

Blackcaps now numbered three,two of which were in the Abbey Mead lake area and the third along the Mill stream.

Later on during the afternoon,I walked along the Pilgrims way above Birling and saw my fourth Butterfly species of the spring,one Orange Tip.

Holborough marsh,March 29th.

After I had walked around New Hythe, I popped into Holborough marshes.To my surprise I refound the Tristis Chiff, still in the same area of reed filled dyke.I managed just two photos before it was lost amongst the reeds.Interestingly the bird is now renewing its tail (photo),the left half is new (adult,type) central tail feather is half grown and the right half appears to be old.

I think it must be the same bird first found in the same spot on (March 5th),the chances of there being two birds must be very slim.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Holborough marsh,March 26th

A very quick walk around Holborough marsh from 1400-1445.Almost the first bird seen was a Perigrine high over the marsh,it then drifted over towards Burham.Only other birds of note were 2 Linnet.

Linnet numbers crashed during the latter half of the 1990s.In 1995 at Holborough marsh there was at least ten pairs,in 1996,5 pairs and in 1998,2 pairs.After the year 2001,it ceased to breed there.

New Hythe lakes,March 23rd and 26th.

March 26th,Cloudy with rain during the morning,not as windy,NW.

Only birds of note today was the singing Blackcap again, 20 Sand Martin over Abbey Mead and 1 Lesser Redpoll.

In the garden a Blackbird is nest building.Last year a pair failed for the first time.The female built 4 nests but deserted them all (probably the numerous local cats).

March 23rd,cloudy,with some rain during the late afternoon,windy NW.

Of note today were 8 singing Chiffs and the first spring Blackcap,which was singing in the Hawthorns on the western edge of the sunken marsh.Twenty Redwing were about the west scrub and a Kingfisher was seen in the scrape area.On Alders lake,Sand Martin had increased to 20 birds.There was no sign of the Wigeon Steve had found on Abbey Mead.

Tesco lake during the 1970s.

March 25th 1969.Castle lake Leybourne.Water Rail 2,G C Grebe sitting on a nest,pair of Swans nest building,pair L S Woodpeckers seen high up in one of the Willows.

Motorway lake:Tufted Duck 8.

Brookland lake:Brit L B B Gull 1,Goldeneye 2.

Holborough marsh:G W Woodpecker 2,Redwing 2,Lapwing 5,Grey Partridge 2,Shelduck 2 and Woodpigeon 100.

March 27th,1970.Weather,mainly a clear and sunny day but cold.
Brookland lake:Ringed Plover 1,L R Plover 2,no Dunlin.

Abbey Mead lake:G C Grebes 8,Tufted Duck 7,Goldeneye 3,one being an adult male.

River: Green Sandpiper 1.

Johnsons lake area:Tufted Duck 22,G C Grebe 2,Brit L B B Gull 2,Pochard 2,only a few finches present,no real flocks.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Mote Park,March 22nd.

A visit to the park with the grand-children during the afternoon,not the best of times if you are interested in birds,it was very busy.However there was a chance of Med Gull amongst the 100s of B h Gulls.I finally found a loose flock of six in the far corner of the lake,although they were rather distant.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

A frost first thing soon cleared to reveal another warm and sunny day.During the morning I walked from the car-park at Brooklands,past Abbey Mead,along the river path over the rail through the east and west scrub and back along the mill stream path.Not much had changed since the last few visits other than the fact that Chiffs had increased to 6 singing birds,4 Lesser Redpolls were located in the car-park Willows and a female Reed Bunting was found in the reeds by the Hawthorns along the river.I met Steve along the mill stream path (its nice to see him about again) he had found a small flock of siskins and was now off to try and photograph the Water voles.

I then popped into the market area in Snodland to look for the Blackcap but it appears to have have moved on..

When I got home I walked into the garden and immediately heard and saw two Med Gulls flying over with a small flock of B H Gulls towards Paddlesworth.

March 20th,New Hythe.

Popped into New Hythe during the late afternoon to Photograph the Water Voles, which are showing well in the dyke on the southern edge of the west scrub area.In total four were seen.

Alders lake,Leybourne,March 19th.

Had a quick look in at the lake during the afternoon to see if any Sand Martin had arrived,I quickly found two.This is always a good lake to check for the first Hirundines and Terns.Others birds on the lake were:Tufted Duck 30,Shoveler 5,Pochard 2 (pair),G C Grebe 7,Mallard 6 and Coot about 20.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Blackcap,a wintering bird hanging on?.

Whilst walking through the market at Snodland on March 6th,I heard a Blackcap singing just behind the stalls.The song was rather quiet,not the full summer song.The following Friday,Iwas surprised to hear it singing again.I found and heard it again on the 17th (photo).It is hardly Blackcap habitat,so I would have thought it to be a bird that has over wintered.The trees are ivy covered.On one occasion it was seen to pick and swallow a bud,which took a good 15 seconds.It will be interesting to see how long it stays.

Upper Halling,March 15th.

Very quick look in at the woods at Upper Halling,one Buzzard seen.

On the way back from the coast along the M20 during the morning,a Med Gull was seen over the small sewage works just before Leeds Castle.

New Hythe lakes March 16th-17th.

16th March,clear and mild again,found four Comma at Brooklands lake.Whilst walking through the Hawthorns along by the river a large bird of prey came over low,my first thoughts were Honey Buzzard,I then realized where I was and the time of year.It did put the herons up,it was probably just a very big female Sparrowhawk.Also found one Pochard on Brooklands and 2 Med Gulls over Abbey.

Another nice clear mild morning,the 17th produced:1 Redwing and more sightings of the Med Gulls,along with my first singing Chiffs (2).The Shoveler on Abbey Mead had increased to 13 birds.By the afternoon the wind had turned to the NE and it became overcast and cold.

March 16th,1986.Abbey Mead lake:11 adult and 3 immature Bewick`s Swans.

March 15th,1992,6 Bewick`s came down onto Abbey Mead lake during a rain storm and left after 45 minutes towards the NE.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

New Hythe,11th March 2009.

I was half expecting to hear the first Chiff of the spring but no luck.There again if any had arrived it was probably a bit cold to induce them to sing.Wildfowl numbers have fallen right off now,I did`nt record any Pochard or Gadwall,although Teal are still in good numbers along the river,with at least 50 seen.On the river also were 5 Shelduck,2 Redshank and Green Sandpiper.

Birds I didn`t see were:Siskin,Redpolls,Goldcrest,Fieldfare or Redwing.I did however see a Reed Buting in the west scrub.

Brook House and Johnson`s Lake,late 1970s.

New Hythe,12th March 1981,sunny and mild,sw.

A pair of Ringed Plover are back on the sand-flat area (east and west scrub).Between 1980-1983,up to two pairs each of the above and L R Plover,along with a pair of Redshank and Lapwing bred on this site.Before the area had become suitable for this to happen,there had been two small lakes,which were then infilled.
Garden update,12th March.

The last of the wintering Blackcaps (male) was seen on February 27th.Reed Buntings have been less regular over the past week,although a male,with a very nice black bib was seen of the bird table for a short while this morning.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

New Hythe lakes,March 5th.

Colder today,though quite sunny.Started from Brooklands lake,on which were 4 G C Grebes,2 Mute Swans,30 Tufted Duck,25 Coot,6 Moorhens and 30 B H Gulls.Walking past the sunken marsh a few Redwing were about the Hawthorns,along with 4 Bullfinch.The river held (which was high) one G B B Gull,2 Shelduck and 30 Teal.At the Heronry I could see at least 20 occupied nests.On Abbey Mead there was 9 Shoveler,1 Little Grebe,4 G C Grebes,25 Tufted Duck and 45 coot.Four Cetti`s were heard in the area.The railway lake held,12 Tufted Duck,2 G C Grebes and 10 Coot.On Tesco,80 Coot,4 Canada Geese,12 Greylag,10 Mute swan,4 Mallard,20 Tufted Duck and 4 G C Grebes were present.On the streamside lake,more Mallard were present than is usual at least 15,along with 2 G C Grebes,2 Little Grebes,8 Gadwall,45 Tufted Duck,2 Greylag,4 Canada Geese and 1 Kingfisher.Feeding in the Alders on the southern edge were 6 lesser redpolls.At the far end of the Mill stream feeding in the reeds were 2 Chiffchaff.Fewer birds were in song today,mainly Song Thrush,at least 6.

From the lakes I had a quick look in at Holborough marsh,where almost the first birds I saw were two Chiffchaffs feeding together in one of the reedy dykes.One being a collybita and the other a greyer bird of the northern type (tristis)

New Hythe Lakes,March 5th,1970.

Brookland lake,water level very low,with a lot of exposed mud,birds present:Lapwing 100,Redshank 1,Dunlin 50,Little Grebe 1,B H Gulls 60.Also present on the banks were a few Chaffinches,Linnets,Yellowhammers,Meadow Pipits and 50 Tree Sparrows.

Abbey Mead lake,island exposed,Pochard 102,Tufted Duck 12 and one R T Diver.

Brook House.many Herring and GBB Gulls about probably 100 0f each,one Scan L B B Gull and 15 Tufted Duck.On the sand bank one Carrion Crow and one Hooded Crow,the latter flew off in the direction of Ham Hill rubbish tip.At the tip appox 3,000 Gulls were present,which were mainly Herring,G B B Gulls,B H Gulls,with a few Common.( the Sewage works is now on the site).

Johnsons lake.one immature Goldeneye.

Between 1965-1970,Hooded Crows were annual winter visitors to the area.They were mainly seen feeding along the river at low tide,a maximum of 4 was seen in 1966.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Male Sparrowhawk,with Reed Bunting.

Just had time to fire off one shot before he made off with one of my Reed Buntings,probably one of the females.No other birds of note seen today.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Must thank Ken of Halling fame for his kind help with this Blog.

Dec/Jan/Feb (GARDEN) bird list.

The very cold weather of Dec/Jan and early February had brought into the garden a Mistle Thrush the first since 1985 and more Blackcaps and Reed Buntings than usual.Greenfinch remain very scarce ( only 1 seen,on one date, during December) and there was no records of Song Thrush.

Species list: Sparrowhawk (male) 1,Crow 1,Magpie 2,Starling (max 100) Mistle Thruush 1,Blackbird 2-4,Dunnock 2,Woodpigeon 2,Collared Dove 15,Wren 1,Goldcrest 1,Blackcap 2 males,2 females,Reed Bunting 3 males and 2 females,Chaffinch 6,Greenfinch 1,Robin 2,Blue Tit 2-4 and Great Tit 2 (another bird which has become very scarce) House Sparrows continue to do well with up to 40 present at times.

19 species.